Singapore hunts agency to lure hospital patients

The Singapore Tourism Board is searching for agency backing for a campaign to attract more medical patients to its shores.

Eight agencies are lined up to contest a brief split into four areas - one of which is to drive up the number of foreign patients the country attracts.

The organisation, currently using Keene (PRWeek, 20 May 2005), also wants to encourage stop-over passengers to stay longer when travelling to Australia.

It wants to promote Singapore as a relatively inexpensive base for travellers in Asia. Additionally, it is seeking to tap in to the business market.

Singapore is Asia's leading medical hub, and its private sector hospitals attract  350,000 overseas patients a  year. The Singapore government is now seeking to pull in one million foreign patients annually by 2012 - generating £1.5m in revenue.

As of late 2006, Singapore's hospitals have mainly sought accreditation through Joint Commission International (JCI) - a US-based group that set up its Asia Pacific office in ­Singapore in 2006.

In 2001, the successful separation of 10-month-old Nepalese conjoined twins made global news headlines and helped put Singapore's medical expertise on the map.

The Singapore Tourism Board revealed last month that visitors to the city-state hit 835,000 in March - 1.9 per cent more than the same month a year ago and a record high. 55,000 visitors came from the UK, although far more came from closer shores, with Indonesia generating 151,000 visitors.

9.7 million tourists visited Singapore in 2006.

On the business front, S­ingapore is in the middle of a housing boom that could see investors travelling more frequently in order to cash in on the buoyant property market.

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